RSK Group plc

RSK merges with Structural Soils to become the UK’s number one site investigation company

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Source: RSK Group plc

A merger with the 130-strong site investigation contractor Structural Soils, a major player in the geotechnical industry with over 40 years of experience, has transformed RSK Group into the largest, most technically proficient geotechnical service provider in the UK.

The merger – the largest in the company’s history – represents RSK’s first major strategic business decision since successfully buying out the minority shareholding of the American AECOM company ENSR in December 2006. It also serves to underline the extent of RSK’s growth in recent years. Most notable in this respect is an at least doubled workforce since 2005 to almost 600 employees, a turnover increase of 35% since 2002/03 to over £26m in 2005/06 (the figure is set to hit £40m in 2006/07), and breakthroughs in Middle Eastern and North African markets.

Merging with the £7m grossing Bristol and Castleford-based company has significantly improved RSK Group’s prospects of achieving a £110m turnover by 2011, a goal that is set to be further strengthened by the announcement of further mergers and acquisitions in the coming weeks. RSK’s stated long-term ambition is to become the UK’s number one environmental consultancy.

RSK Group chairman Dr Alan Ryder said: “The buyback of our ENSR shares in December paved the way for RSK to pursue an ambitious growth policy. This is a major coup for us considering the amount of experience and expertise Structural Soils has. With business opportunities emerging in the brownfield sector to the extent that they are, RSK now finds itself in a very good position indeed. Most services will be in-house, there will be fewer subcontractors and clients will be assured that work is carried out to the standards of our world-class health and safety [OHSAS 18001], environmental [ISO 14001] and quality [ISO 9001] management systems”

Since 1964, Structural Soils has grown to become one of the most respected site investigation contractors in the UK, working for companies such as Thames Water (for which it is one of only four site investigation contractors), the Highways Agency and Network Rail. In the last 12 months, the company has grown by 33%, mostly through word of mouth. Moving forward, the company will be known as ‘Structural Soils, an RSK Group company’ to retain its well established brand identity.

RSK’s geotechnical and contaminated land services capability will be boosted by the addition of two strategically placed offices, an in-house fleet of drilling apparatus (cable percussion drilling, rotary drilling and window sampling), two laboratories (offering soil testing, rock testing, aggregate testing and concrete testing capabilities), four decades worth of industry experience and a highly-qualified staff roster comprising civil and structural engineers, geologists, engineering geologists and chemists.

Structural Soils managing director Alec Handcock said: “This is the right move for us at the right time and will help us evolve as a business. RSK’s accreditations, in-house systems and vast range of environmental capabilities will be a tremendous addition to our own services.”

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